So a Boston reporter continues to assert that the Red Sox and Phillies are serious about Hamels. Ok, I'll humor the suggestion. The Red Sox supposedly aren't making a serious offer to Lester, which would mean that they will be out on him at some point soon. That would make them a suitor for Hamels again, if you follow this, or don't think it's completely stupid on it's face. Fair enough.Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that the right offer for Hamels simply has not come yet:The Phillies just want a fair package for Hamels, one of the best pitchers in baseball, and they haven’t heard one. GM Ruben Amaro is often criticized for holding out for too much, but some of the offers presented to him are really not good deals for a team that needs to rebuild. It would hurt the Red Sox to part with at least one among Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, Henry Owens, and Blake Swihart to get a deal done, let alone two. So they’d rather steer the conversation toward Matt Barnes, Anthony Ranaudo, and a young positional playerA couple weeks ago I suggested Blake Swihart could be a centerpiece in a Hamels deal.The Red Sox would be foolish not to at least try a lesser package for Hamels, especially after seeing what the Phillies settled for in exchange for ace Cliff Lee just a few years ago. The Red Sox already once insulted ace Jon Lester with last year's contract offer, and this offseason's offer to Lester appears to be underwhelming. At six years and $110 to $120 million, the average annual value would be much lower than Hamels' current deal, which seems to be reasonable given the marketplace.I would expect the Chicago Cubs or St. Louis Cardinals to outbid the Red Sox for Lester. At that point, the Red Sox may be willing to give up one of those players to make a deal with the Phillies.
The Phillies have reportedly been making proposals to Boston for a Hamels trade, and I'm sure they've asked for each of the players listed above, and probably at least two at a time. Clearly Boston has said no. Given Boston's reluctance to trade at least two of them in a deal, that should be enough to walk away. Not one of these prospects should be good enough on their own to headline a package for a 31 year old ace who will still be good in three years when the Phillies should be back to winning.
Just for a second though, who are these guys?
- Henry Owens is a left-handed starting pitcher who is 22 years old, and is generally considered between the 30th and 40th best prospect by the rankers. I find him to easily be the best of their bunch, and he would have to be in any acceptable package for Hamels.
- Mookie Betts is a 22 year old who hasn't yet stuck at a specific position for Boston, but hit .291 in the big leagues, mostly aided by a strong finish. If you made him a second baseman (and managed to trade Chase Utley), I see a very plus career there. I'm not as high on him as an outfielder. Couple him with Owens and I could start to buy in, though i'd still not be content. On his own, he was generally considered a 60-75 prospect in all of baseball, or similar to say, Jesse Biddle, before 2014.
- Blake Swihart is a 22 year old catcher who is blocked within his own organization by a young catcher who took over in 2014 instead of Swihart (Christian Vazquez). Swihart had really plus numbers offensively in High-A and AA, but was pre-season ranked in about the exact same place as Betts. He could be a part of a deal, much like Betts, but I really wouldn't take a package where he's the main piece.
- Xander Bogaerts is a 22 year old shortstop or third baseman who a year ago I would have told you I'd trade Hamels away to get for sure. A .240/.297/.362/.660 season later and I see a mediocre player who isn't as good of a future option as Crawford or Franco at either position, frankly. I'd run away from any deal that is centered around him, we're fine on the left side of the infield.
- Matt Barnes is a 24 year old right-handed pitcher who is generally considered a top 100 prospect, but has pitched to about a four ERA over the last two seasons in AA and AAA. He'd be a nice piece as your third guy in a trade, but I'd be livid if you centered the deal around him.
- Anthony Ranaudo is a 25 year old right-handed pitcher who is from Freehold, NJ. He's had some very solid numbers the last couple of seasons in the minors, but hasn't been rated in the top 100 in a couple of years. He'd be similar to Barnes for me.